Mauj Mobile acquires UK's Mobango; eyes global market
Aug 16, 2010 (Mint - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
In a bid to enter the global mobile value-added services (VAS) market, technology start-up People Infocom Pvt. Ltd, which operates online mobile content provider Mauj Mobile, has acquired UK-based Mobango Ltd.
Mobango's database of about 35,000 free mobile applications--estimated to be the world's second largest after GetJar Inc.--and a little over one million user generated video clips generate about 1.5 million daily downloads. Mobango's user generated video content is similar to the popular video sharing website YouTube. Privately-held Mauj Mobile, funded by venture capital (VC) firms Sequoia Capital India, Intel Capital and WestBridge CapitalPartners, and part of People Group, which owns other well-regarded Internet assets such as the matrimonial portal Shaadi.com, and real estate website Makaan.com, specializes in mobile content such as games and ringtones. Anupam Mittal, chairman and managing director, People Group, said the acquisition cost "a few million dollars" and will boost the firm's growth and scale of operations. With the Mobango acquisition, Mauj will be operating in a global marketplace that technology researcher Gartner Inc. values at $6.2 billion (around '28,900 crore) in 2010. "Worldwide mobile application stores' download revenue exceeded $4.2 billion in 2009 and will grow to $29.5 billion by the end of 2013," Gartner said in an 18 January report. The forecast includes end-user spending on paid-for applications and advertising-sponsored free applications.
Advertising-sponsored mobile applications are estimated to generate nearly 25% of mobile application stores' revenue by 2013.
"The acquisition will catalyse Mauj's transformation from being an Indian entity to one with global visibility and reach," said Mohit Bhatnagar, managing director at Sequoia India. "Overnight, they will be able to leverage Mobango's global audience and the application developer community."
Sequoia, Intel Capital and WestBridge together hold about 30% stake in the company, while promoters hold about 64%. The rest is held by employees. The three VC firms collectively invested $10million in Mauj in 2006, one of the largest initial funding for a mobile VAS start-up at the time.
Bhatnagar said the acquisition could not have happened at a better time, with third generation (3G) mobile telephony services likely to be rolled out by the end of the year and the increasing proliferation of smartphones.
According to Mauj's chief operating officer and group chief financial offer Badri Sanjeevi, an increasing amount of Mobango's user traffic was coming from India, a trend that is expected to gather momentum with the launch of 3G services. Sanjeevi, who is standing in for chief executive officer Manoj Dawane, who resigned in May, said Mauj is currently profitable as a stand alone entity. Nearly 50% of People Group's revenues come from Shaadi.com, the market leader in the online matrimonial space, while a little over 30% comes from Mauj Mobile.
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